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Updated: 21 min 35 sec ago

Nunn’s validation of Islamic Relief USA reveals system-wide failure

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 18:42

While she ran the Points of Light Foundation, U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn (D-Ga.), authorized MissionFish, a Points of Light donation processor, to pass contributions from eBay customers to charities of their choice, including Islamic Relief USA (IR-USA). The Nunn campaign refers to this authorization as “validation;” in other words, Points of Light had researched the charity and validated it for inclusion on MissionFish’s list of eligible charities.

The Nunn campaign argues that $33,000 donated by eBay shoppers passed through Points of Light to IR-USA does not constitute a donation by Points of Light to IR-USA. That is disingenuous because what actually happened is that Points of Light received these ear-marked donations and then cut a check themselves to IR-USA. Points of Light benefits from the transaction because it increases the appearance of their overall charitable volume. The eBay customers would not have been able to donate funds to IR-USA while completing their purchases online if MissionFish had excluded the organization on their menu of options.

IR-USA donates millions of dollars each year to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a UK-based organization that has been banned by Israel for aiding Hamas, and whose leadership is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. A Department of Justice official has implicated IR-USA for being a conduit for the flow of money from America to terrorist groups abroad. Russian intelligence indicates that IR-USA funds militants in the North Caucasus—the region where the family of the Boston marathon bombers originate. Nunn and Points of Light could have discovered several of the red flags about IR-USA, many of which had already cropped up before validation occurred, by conducting due diligence research or even a basic Internet search.

Unfortunately, Points of Light isn’t the first organization to legitimize IR-USA. IR-USA work has been acknowledged by Hillary Clinton’s State Department, the Obamas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it maintains 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.

These politicians and agencies have been willing to overlook questionable practices by IR-USA because of their eagerness to demonstrate cooperation with Muslim Americans and Islamic charitable sector. The embrace of IR-USA was exacerbated by IR-USA’s fraudulent representation of itself as a larger charity than it actually was by hyper-inflating the valuation of their deworming drug stockpiles. Although the value of deworming drugs may sound like a technical, minor point, it is not. IR-USA basically perpetrated a fraud for several years by overstating the value of the drugs which made up 75 percent of their assets. Bigger institutions like USDA and Points of Light are likelier to partner with bigger charities, which IR-USA seemed to be. If IR-USA had reported a truthful value of its donations and assets, it may not have been viewed as a big enough charity to attract institutional partners like these.

A major charitable bundler like Points of Light had the resources to discover the disturbing truths about IR-USA’s connections to Hamas and its fraudulent financial statements prior to validation. It’s time that federal agencies and institutional donors started paying less attention to warm-and-fuzzy statements by politicians about what a great partner a certain charity is, and pay more attention to the results of basic due diligence research. Until then, and until there are changes at the highest levels of the IRS and the Department of Justice, and a willingness to confront IR-USA for its history of misrepresentations, we will probably see decisions like Nunn’s repeated again.

Al Qaeda financiers use Qatar for international activities

Sat, 06/28/2014 - 14:16

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi:  The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa'ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari:  Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar:  According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy:  The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi:  The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

Clipping the Wings of Lashkar-e Taiba and its Charity Front Jamaat-ud Dawa of Pakistan

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 12:34

Animesh Roul

In an attempt to clip Pakistan’s terror charity Jamaat ud Dawa’s (JuD) financial wings further, the U.S. Department of the Treasury on 25 June (2014) has once again targeted the leadership and financial networks of the organization. The JuD (formerly Markaz Dawat-ul-Irshad-MDI) which is a social charily front for the deadly Jihad group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has been operating with impunity inside Pakistan since its inception. The group was founded by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the present chief of JuD and all its franchises and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan’s Kunar province in 1987 under the active guidance of Abdullah Azzam, the Palestinian Islamic ideologue who mentored Osama bin Laden. LeT has its headquarters in Muridke (Moreedkey) town, located near Lahore, Pakistan and operates training camps in Pakistan administered Kashmir and some parts of Punjab province and presently expanded into Sind and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan and Bordering areas of neighboring Afghanistan.

LeT has perpetrated numerous terrorist attacks against India including the November 2008 Mumbai serial attacks. The group aims to establish Nizam-e-Mustafa (God’s government) in the world and merger of Muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) state with Pakistan. It has called for holy war against the United States, India and Israel. With active support from Pakistan’s external intelligence agency ISI, the Lashkar-e Taiba furthers its anti India objectives introducing suicide missions in Jammu and Kashmir and into the heartlands of India over the years. The JuD/LeT combine often compared with the al Qaeda for its lethality and sometimes with Hezbollah and Hamas, for its militancy-cum-charity activities. Most recently Jamaat Ud Dawa morphed into a political pressure group in Pakistan.

With active and sustained State patronage and to become legitimate in the eyes of international community, Hafiz Saeed and his cohorts have branched out to charitable works during natural calamities. Religious activism remains its focal point. The JuD/ LeT runs many Islamic centers, schools and religious seminaries, a network of hospitals, orphanages, charity centers along with thousands of administrative and fund collection centers across Pakistan. After a brief government crackdown under international pressure, the JuD has reorganized itself under many umbrella conglomerates e.g. the Tehrik-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool (THR-Movement for Defending the Honor of the Prophet), Tehrik-e-Tahafuz Qibla Awal (TTQA) and Al-Anfal Trust. To evade government proscription and international scrutiny, JuD established many charity fronts e.g. Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq (IKK) and Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF). Rightly observed that Lashkar e Taiba /JuD combine has successfully blended militancy with charity works in Pakistan and neighborhoods (e.g. Maldives/Lanka) through many shadow originations to dodge crackdown and international scrutiny.

So far, US Treasury and the Department of State have designated 22 individuals and four entities associated with Lashkar-e Taiba and JuD.

The US government for the first time included LeT in the Terrorist Exclusion List on December 5, 2001 and designated as a FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization) on December 26, 2001. In April 2006, The US State Department added Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) and IKK as aliases of Lashkar- e- Taiba under the executive order 13224, which blocked all property, and interests in property of JUD and IKK that are in the United States, or come within the United States, or the under the control of U.S. persons. In May 2008, the US state department has imposed sanctions (including freezing of assets) of four senior ideologues and financier of JuD/LeT including of Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Haji Muhammad Ashraf and Mahmoud Ahmed Bahaziq. In November 2010, the US designated Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation and couple of leaders associated with the foundation, Hafiz Abdur Rauf, Mian Abdullah and Mohammad Naushad Alam Khan, to its list of specially designated global terrorists (SDGT).

Again on September 2011, the U.S. Treasury designated two more LeT/JuD leaders, Zafar Iqbal and Hafiz Abdul Salam Bhuttavi.

In Late August 2012, the US Treasury designated another eight LeT/JuD leaders including Abdullah Muntazir, Ahmed Yaqub, Sajid Mir, Hafiz Khalid Walid, Qari Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh and Talha Saeed.

On June 25 (2014) the department again designated Nazir Ahmad Chaudhry and Muhammad Hussein Gill as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

LeT is listed as banned organization in India, Pakistan, US, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia and Australia. The United Nations Security Council has already imposed sanctions on Jamaat-ud-Dawa and has declared it as a front group for the LeT. Despite the Pakistan government’s proscription, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) has stepped up its overt anti-Indian and anti-Western rhetoric and operates freely holding mass rallies across Pakistan as its leaders continue to give provocative speeches in various public forums to fuel Jihadi sentiments and threaten Indian and Western interests in the region.

How far these restrictions will hamper JuD/LeT’s operations would remain to see. There would be very minimal impact inside Pakistan as the group uses various informal channels to raise funds and it runs under State patronage. It raises funds during public gatherings in Pakistan mostly from wealthy individuals and inspired people for the cause of Kashmir and Islam. The latest sanctions and designations would delegitimize the causes. Even though US impositions of such financial actions will not make much difference immediately to JuD or its various franchises inside Pakistan, it will certainly make things difficult for them in the long run to operate at the international sphere raising funds and logistics through formal channels, especially the donations come in the name of humanitarian and educational charity. Also, large amount of donations from the Pakistani Diaspora overseas would be restricted. And last but not the least the restrictions will jeopardize their movement (Travel) aboard especially in the Middle Eastern countries, considered a hub for Islamic charities.

[Animesh Roul, Executive Direcctor, Society for the Study of Peace and Conflict, New Delhi.]

NOTES:

Seven habits of highly effective kingpins

Sat, 05/31/2014 - 15:15

Criminal and terrorist groups are highly interconnected according to new analysis of data by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center. The conventional wisdom was that criminals worry that working with terrorists may draw unwanted scrutiny from their governments, and they are only inclined to cooperate only in resource-poor environments where it is necessary to survive. But the CTC finds that transnational traffickers and criminals appear to be more than willing to partner with terrorists, and that they benefit from these relationships in a wide variety of environments.

The full report can be read here. It is very thorough (89 pages) and includes academic language and models. Here are a just a few of the salient points from the study about members of the global underworld that may be of interest to practitioners and analysts outside of academia:

  1. Interconnected: 98 percent of the individuals in the global illicit marketplace are within two degrees of separation of each other.
  2. International: One in three individuals in the network have international relationships.
  3. Distributed power: Unlike typical hub-and-spoke networks where 80 percent of the connections rely on 20 percent of the actors involved, the global illicit network is somewhat less dependent on a small number of powerful actors/kingpins. Twenty percent of participants are responsible for only 65 percent of underworld connections. This diffuse hub-and-spoke model makes the network tougher for law enforcement to disrupt.
  4. Willingness to work with terrorists: “Individuals involved in other illicit activities link to terrorists 35 percent of the time” (p. 43). Terrorists often serve as “boundary spanners,” that link and form introductions between disparate groups such as drug traffickers, arms dealers, and organized crime.
  5. Frequent bilateral links with the United Arab Emirates: The top two bilateral connections in the criminal underworld--the U.S. and Colombia and the U.S. and Mexico--are probably unsurprising to Americans. The third most prevalent bilateral connections are between India and the U.A.E., and the sixth most common are between Pakistan and the U.A.E.
  6. Organized crime, not just terrorism, benefits from state sponsorship. We know that state sponsorship of terrorism exists, but for some reason we erroneously assume that state sponsorship of crime does not. The evidence from North Korea, Russia, the Balkans, and Pakistan indicates that criminals can carry out national interests—a phenomenon deserving further study.
  7. Convergence is not driven by poverty. Terrorists and criminals are drawn together in a variety of environments, not just in countries where there are little money or resources. The evidence indicates that the opposite is often true—that criminal masterminds prefer climates where there is some level of predictability and economic development, such as Monzer al-Kassar operating in Spain and Dawood Ibrahim in Dubai. Focusing only on failed states could be a red herring.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Twitter user @El_Grillo1 for sending in a link to the CTC study.

Lessons learned from 6 big terrorist windfalls

Sun, 05/18/2014 - 14:23

Terror finance trials over the last ten years have frequently involved transfers by individuals of a few thousand dollars to terrorist organizations abroad. Sometimes those cases get as much attention from the news media and law enforcement as multi-million dollar cases of funding terrorism.

This tendency is unfortunate because it causes us to lose sight of the big time patrons of terrorism and their methods. Small transfers are likelier to involve individual actors, small groups, and criminal activity. High-dollar terrorist transactions are likelier to involve state sponsorship, or at least large organizations such as major charities, and sometimes corporations which are targeted for extortion or kidnapping-for-ransom schemes by militants. Consider:

• France paid $15 to $20 million to the Taliban for the 2011 release of reporters Stéphane Taponier and Hervé Ghesquière. France may have also paid a $34 million ransom to Al Qaeda in North Africa for the release of four captives last year, and an $18 million ransom just last week to release four journalists abducted by Syrian rebels.

• The Holy Land Foundation, largest Islamic “charity” in the U.S. in the early 2000s, gave $12.4 million to Hamas. George W. Bush said that the money HLF raised was “used by Hamas to recruit suicide bombers and support their families.” The leaders of HLF were found guilty of providing material support to terrorism and received sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years in federal prison.

• Qatar has spent an estimated $3 billion (or, less credibly, $5 billion) to fund Al Qaeda-linked rebels in Syria. In so doing they’ve helped turn Syria into a charnel house with over 150,000 dead since 2011.

• Carlos the Jackal received, according to different accounts, either $20 million or $50 million from the Saudi government in 1975 to release the OPEC ministers he had taken hostage. Allegedly, this money wasn’t used by Carlos himself but was pumped back toward international terrorist causes. Eventually, Carlos the Jackal was caught and sentenced to life in prison in France on separate charges.

• The Born brother heirs to the multinational Bunge and Born corporation were forced to pay a $60 million ransom to leftwing Montoneros terrorists in Argentina in 1974. Some of the money may have been kept in shadowy Argentine and Cuban banks. Mario Firmenich, mastermind of the plot, was convicted in 1987.

• The Palestinian Authority just pledged another $74 million to spend as incentives and stipends for terrorist “martyrs” and their families from their annual budget.

Several lessons should be learned from the above sampling of terrorist jackpots:

1. Don’t pay ransoms. Paying ransoms is the quickest way to fund millions of dollars worth of future terrorist attacks and to increase the likelihood of larger ransom demands down the road.

2. In cases of suspected terrorist financing, always look at both the source and the beneficiary of the funding—not just one party in isolation. With the Holy Land Foundation, we tend to focus mostly on HLF as a contributor, without examining how Hamas uses Islamic charities in the West to finance its operations. Likewise in the Taponier and Ghesquière case, what little coverage there was in English language media focused on the ransom negotiations and French foreign policy, while completely ignoring the aftermath of what the Taliban and the Baryal Qari group did with the money. We learn more from each case when we look at both sides of the equation.

3. Recognize the magnitude of the money involved in these cases. Recall that Al Qaeda’s budget before 9/11 was about $30 million and carrying out the 9/11 attack cost about a half-million in direct expenses. A ransom payment of “just” $15 million is an enormous sum to terrorist groups who can use it for training, recruitment, arms, websites, bribes, fake identity documents, travel, explosives, and wages for dozens if not hundreds of operatives for a year.

4. Identify state sponsors. It is gratifying that several of these big-timers like the Holy Land Foundation and Carlos the Jackal were brought to justice. But notice that when a national government is the sponsor of the activity, no criminal prosecution takes place. The nations involved aren’t even fined like banks would be for committing similar violations. Rather, these cases are handled rather through diplomatic back channels. France has never been held accountable for violating international agreements against the payment of ransoms to terrorists. Qatar has yet to be designated a state sponsor of terrorism despite ample evidence that it is. Sometimes it seems like those with the deepest pockets and links to the terrorist underworld—groups like Islamic Relief, men like Dawood Ibrahim, banks like Al-Rajhi, and spy agencies like the ISI—have escaped the same level of scrutiny that smaller fish receive.

5. Keep probing. The news media is naturally focused on “news.” Their inclination is to stop reporting on stories like these after the financing has been revealed, stopped, or somebody has been convicted. But there is still a great deal of reporting that could be done on each of these major plots. For example, after the Bush administration took on the Holy Land Foundation, their plan was to continue prosecution of related entities and front charities, but the Obama administration put those investigations to a halt (which allowed Islamic Relief USA to continue operating). And there is still a great deal of confusion and conflicting accounts about exactly why Carlos the Jackal accepted the OPEC ransom payment rather than killing Saudi official Sheikh Zaki Yamani, which Carlos was supposedly under orders from Wadi Haddad to do.

6. Don’t underestimate Islamist motives. The temptation in the West is to ascribe the same motives to terrorists that tempt us in our own culture and in secular societies: money and power. But in several of these high-dollar cases, the donors received no tangible benefits from their gifts, and the recipients used the money to further a larger cause—neither for private financial gain nor for raw political power. Keep in mind that demands for ransom to release infidels are permitted under the Qur’an (47:4). Islamic law also mandates that a portion of zakat be given to holy warriors (Q9:60). The transfer of funds to Hamas offered little private gain for the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation, but the leaders did it anyway in keeping with the principles of zakat. An assumption that these transactions are “purely business” is a culturally biased assumption.

Boko Haram, too, is financed by cyber crime

Sun, 05/18/2014 - 13:12

By David Nordell

The extremist Islamist terror group Boko Haram has become the scourge of Nigeria over the last five or so years, responsible for more than 1,000 deaths. The close to 300 schoolgirls recently kidnapped by the group are still unlocated somewhere in the Nigerian jungle, apparently waiting to be sold as sex slaves. Most recently, Boko Haram is apparently responsible for an attack on a Chinese work site in northern Cameroon that took place on 16th May, killing one and kidnapping 10.

The world is at least making efforts, symbolic or otherwise, to support the Nigerian government in its fight against Boko Haram. British, US and Israeli counter-terrorist units are reported to be helping in the search for the missing schoolgirls; and West African leaders met in Paris on 17th May, together with Western officials, to work out a plan to share intelligence and coordinate military action. Reuters also reported that Nigeria was to ask for Boko Haram to be placed on the UN list of sanctioned terrorist organisations and individuals.

As far as preventing the financing of terrorism is concerned, most of the value of these lists, whether provided by the UN or national governments, is in the Know Your Customer processes carried out at financial institutions, aimed at preventing suspect individuals and entities from opening bank accounts that might then be used to channel money towards terror activities. And the disappointing truth is that these processes are not very effective, not least because the black lists are usually publicly available, not least to the suspects themselves: suspect individuals can easily change their names and obtain new identification papers; suspect corporate entities can often change their identities even more easily; and in any case accounts can be opened and manipulated through front men.

But perhaps more important than the overall weakness of the anti-money laundering/counter-terror financing regime is the fact that it is almost entirely bypassed by the most common form of cyber fraud, generically known as ’Nigerian fraud’ or ’419 fraud,’ after the section in the Nigerian criminal code that refers to it. As is well known, most e-mail account users around the world receive occasional (or in my case, almost daily) messages claiming to be from some bank manager, or government official, or orphaned child of some national leader, offering a large cut in exchange for help in laundering a multi-million dollar sum that has been misplaced in corporate accounts, or allocated by the UN, or left for charitable purposes. And once the gullible victim starts corresponding with the fraudster, he or she discovers that there are all sorts of expenses that need to be covered before the big money can be released, almost invariably by making payment through one of the major remittance companies such as MoneyGram. The more imaginative frauds tend to use romance as the hook: a good friend of mine lost many tens of thousands of dollars to someone who started an on-line relationship with her through a dating site and then claimed to need money urgently because he had been imprisoned on false charges in Ghana.

Nigerian frauds are of course not confined to Nigeria. But sources with whom I have spoken say that there is already clear evidence that Boko Haram is now one of the key organised groups behind these frauds, and that a good part of the money that is sent by the fraudters’ victims to Nigeria is actually being used to buy weapons and other supplies for its terror attacks, whether in Nigeria itself or in neighbouring countries.

For the time being there do not appear to be reliable figures for the extent of Boko Haram’s involvement in the many thousands of successful 419 frauds, any more than there are reliable figures for the overall extent of these frauds globally: most of the victims are too embarrassed to complain to the police. Similarly, the overall volume of transactions carried out by Western Union, MoneyGram, other smaller remittance companies and now also mobile-phone payments companies is a totally unreliable indicator of how much may end up being taken by Boko Haram, or indeed similar terror groups in countries such as Somalia and the Philippines.

What is clear, however, is that the current KYC regulations that apply to people sending money through the various payments companies are basically irrelevant to this problem of fraud financing terrorism: the victims have no idea where their money is ending up. The same applies to all the many instances of money being stolen from financial institutions and their customers through the better-publicised forms of cyber theft, those that typically use malware infiltrated into customers’ computers and mobile phones. The only real solution is to turn the KYC rules on their head and to insist that those receiving remittances, and counterparties to transfers originating from banks and credit card accounts, be identified by means of secure and authenticated electronic ID (since paper-based or even plastic ID documents are so easy to forge and steal).

Is this likely to happen any time soon? Unfortunately not: although the Financial Action Task Force has recognised the risks behind new payment methods such as internet and mobile payments, as well as Internet-related fraud, this recognition has yet to turn into actual regulatory requirements on the one hand, and secure, scalable technological solutions on the other; and there doesn’t seem to be much of a sense of urgency. To be fair, cyber crime is by no means the only means of financing terrorist organisations such as Boko Haram; but how many more innocent victims will continue to be murdered, maimed and kidnapped because practical solutions are not yet available?

Australia can secure journalist Peter Greste's freedom by not supporting the Muslim Brotherhood

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 20:41

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The Australian Government is reported to be in negotiations with the Egyptian Government to secure the release of one of it's citizens, the Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste.Greste  and two other Al-Jazeera employees are  accused of assisting the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Australian Government has made a number of high level ministerial representations in his favour,but to no avail. Meanwhile, Australia contonues to provide polticial asylum to members of the Brotherhood, and in doing so a base for operations( see notes below). 

In addition Australia has done nothing to stop  Human Appeal International from using  Australia as one of its main bases for sourcing funds, despite the not unfounded  concern that it finances terrorists and evidence of HAI breaching Australian laws.

The solution  to the problem of Peter Greste seems straightforward:Australia can and should offer to cut the Brotherhood's Australian supports.Indeed, that request was recently conveyed, but obviously ignored.

END 

 

 NOTES

The following is a collection of cases that were heard by Australia's Refugee Review Tribunal,and higher courts , where the applicants sought protection on the grounds of persecution because of political beliefs; in these cases evidenced by their membership of the Muslim Brotherhood. In all these cases ,where the appeals have been successful, the decision was based on findings of whether the applicants had successfully proven membership of the Muslim Brotherhood.  These cases must be read in full,but  I have provided some excerpts in order  to summarise the issue.I have also provided two Australian  newspaper reports where concerns were raised about the issue.   There are other cases  where the appeal failed because the applicant could not prove membership of the Muslim Brotherhood to the satisfaction of the tribunal or court.      ```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` The Cases   RRT Reference: N01/38786 Date decision made: 31 July 2002

....the Applicant claims that he has suffered and fears persecution in Syria because of political views which will be imputed to him because he has previously served several years imprisonment for being involved with the Muslim Brotherhood.

DECISION

 

  1. The Tribunal remits the matter for reconsideration with the direction that the applicant is a person to whom Australia has protection obligations under the Refugees Convention.
  RRT Reference: N95/09809-June 1996   DECISION UNDER REVIEW

 

This matter concerns a decision made by a delegate of the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (the Minister), in effect, to refuse to grant the Applicant a protection visa, as provided for under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act). The Applicant was represented by a solicitor from Legal Aid.

 

In 1984 the Applicant joined the Muslim Brotherhood  in Hyderabad. He said this was only possible by invitation from existing members. He had become significantly involved through his activities in the Muslim Student Union   Decision: The Tribunal remits the application for consideration in accordance with the direction that the Applicant must be taken to have satisfied the criterion that he is a person to whom Australia has protection obligations under the Refugees Convention   M196 of 2002 v MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION & ANOR [2005] FMCA 1650   MIGRATION – Refugee Review Tribunal – protection visa – confusion regarding meaning of 'jihad' and political group 'al Jihad' – whether denial of procedural fairness – reliance of textbook extract not put to applicant – whether jurisdictional error – whether breach of s.424 of Migration Act.   . The applicant before this court relies upon an application filed 1 September 2004 seeking judicial review of a decision of the Refugee Review Tribunal (the Tribunal) dated 3 July 2001. In its decision the Tribunal affirmed a decision of the first respondent's delegate to refuse to grant to the applicant a protection visa.

 

. The applicant is a citizen of Egypt who arrived in Australia on 7 March 2000. He travelled on an Egyptian passport issued in Kiev on 14 September 1999 and valid to 13 September 2006. When he arrived in Australia on 7 March 2000 he was the holder of a tourist short stay visa. Before he arrived in Australia the applicant has resided in the Ukraine for over five years. 6. On 20 March 2000 the applicant lodged an application for a protection visa, and on 8 May 2000 a delegate of the first respondent refused to grant the visa. The applicant then applied for review of that decision to the Tribunal on 1 June 2000.

 

 

"5. I have known the  Muslim Brotherhood  for as long as I can remember. In around 1990, while I was still doing my national services, I was approached through men I knew from the mosque to become involved in the Muslim Brotherhood . I was invited to join the prayer groups and meetings. At this stage Islamic movements in Egypt were on the rise and I had friends who were joining  Muslim   Brotherhood  and other organisations.
6. I was interested in the  Muslim Brotherhood  because of my commitment to the Muslim faith. The mosque that I attended most was in (Y) although I also went to other mosques in surrounding towns. The Muslim Brotherhood  was fairly strong in (Y).
7. Part of the reason that I was invited to join the Muslim Brotherhood  was because I am a part of a big family in the (Y) area. I was asked to spread the Muslim Brotherhood  message through my extended family.
8. I did not tell my immediate family about my involvement in the Muslim  Brotherhood . I did not want them to know because I knew they would not approve as they knew the Muslim Brotherhood  was an illegal organisation and that people were sometimes being arrested. The only one I told about my involvement in the Muslim Brotherhood  until I was forced to leave was my younger brother, (M)." (Court book page 40)

 

 

RRT Reference: N96/12875 (10 November 1997)

Decision: The Tribunal remits the matter for reconsideration with the direction that the applicant is a person to whom Australia has protection obligations under the Refugees Convention

FINDINGS AND REASONS

 

The Tribunal found the applicant to be a credible witness and accepts his claim that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood . The applicant appeared sincere in describing his belief in the Brotherhood's aims, and the applicant's witness was credible in describing how he had been satisfied that the applicant was a member of the  Muslim Brotherhood  as he claimed. The Tribunal also accepts as factual the communication from the  Muslim Brotherhood  attesting to the applicant's membership of the group. The signatory to that document is a member of a family with a very high profile in the Brotherhood. One of the Bayanuni family is currently the controller-general of the Brotherhood (see BBC Monitoring Service, above).

 

The applicant therefore has a well-founded fear of persecution by the Syrian authorities, because of his political opinion and religious beliefs as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood , if he returns to Syria.

 

CONCLUSION

 

The Tribunal is satisfied that the applicant is a person to whom Australia has protection obligations under the Refugees Convention as amended by the Refugees Protocol. Therefore the applicant satisfies the criterion set out in s.36(2) of the Act for a protection visa.

 ```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

 

Follower of radical Islamic movement granted asylum in Australia Article from: 

Padraic Murphy

August 27, 2009 12:00am

A FOLLOWER of a radical Islamic movement that seeks to introduce sharia law and has been linked to terrorist groups is being granted asylum in Australia.

The Refugee Review Tribunal has recommended a protection visa for an Egyptian man, who is a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political group with links to al-Qaida.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in several countries, including Egypt.

It seeks to establish a pan-Islamic state ruled by sharia law and is committed to the destruction of Israel.

The Egyptian man initially was denied a protection visa by the Department of Immigration, but the decision was overturned by the tribunal.

"The tribunal is of the view that the applicant's decision to abandon ship, insistence on his rights not to return to Egypt for medical treatment, and behaviour towards his captain, if combined with his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, his low-level political activities and past expression of anti-government political views, would generate a profile that could attract the adverse attention of the authorities and focus their attention on his sympathies for the brotherhood," it found.

"On this basis, the tribunal is of the opinion that there is a real chance that this could place the applicant at risk of facing arrest, detention and ill-treatment."

Prof Greg Barton of Monash University said the Muslim Brotherhood had been linked to terrorist attacks, such as the Luxor bus bombing in 1997, but had since denounced violence, though many of its goals had been taken up by terrorist groups.

"Al-Qaida and other militant groups have benefited greatly from their ideas so it is true that the ideas produced by the brotherhood are taken further by more militant groups," he said.

"The brotherhood connection for anybody would automatically give Australian authorities a reason to check into their background."

Jeremy Jones, director of international affairs with the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council, said the brotherhood presented a threat to democratic countries.

"The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in many countries for good reason," he said. "It's not just it's attitude towards Israel that's of concern. It has strands that are very sympathetic towards terrorism."

Opposition immigration spokeswoman Sharman Stone said she would write to Mr Evans asking to have the decision overturned.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the man would have a rigorous security check before a visa was granted.

"Should there be an adverse security assessment, the department cannot grant a visa," he said.

AUSTRALIA has granted asylum to Muslim Brotherhood members   From The Australian April 22, 2006 by Natalie O'Brien ...

AUSTRALIA has granted asylum to five men who claim their membership of an organisation accused of ties to al-Qa'ida would expose them to persecution in their home countries. The men from Syria, Egypt and India sought protection on the basis of their membership of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been banned in Syria and is considered the father of terrorist groups including al-Qa'ida.

Osama bin Laden's right-hand man Ayman al-Zawahiri adopted the organisation. And earlier this month, The Weekend Australian revealed that one of the five asylum-seekers, Ahmad al-Hamwi, who arrived in Australia 10 years ago, was a senior al-Qa'ida bagman linked to 1993 World Trade Centre bomber Ramzi Yousef.

US terror expert Steven Emerson said the practice of allowing Muslim Brotherhood members into Australia was "extremely dangerous". Mr Emerson, credited with being the first expert to warn about al-Qa'ida, said Britain had a similar policy to Australia, which had led to a "high concentration of radicals" and the establishment of extremist networks there.
"I am astounded at such a policy ... there is no doubt that there are ties between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qa'ida," Mr Emerson said.

The five cases, which went before the Refugee Review Tribunal and the Federal Magistrates Court between 1996 and 2002, revealed the applicants had sought protection on the grounds they were members or associates of the Brotherhood. Two men were given protection in 2002, after the September 11 attacks in the US. The Syrian arm of the Brotherhood has been linked to the al-Qa'ida members involved in planning the attacks.

In one case that went before the RRT, a Syrian revealed how he had been recruiting members to the Brotherhood without specifically mentioning the group. He said he tried to attract recruits by speaking about the aims of the group to overthrow the Syrian Government and usher in an Islamic society.

The former head of security with the French secret service, Alain Chouet, has this month written a briefing for the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Centre, warning that the Muslim Brotherhood should not be underestimated. "Like every fascist movement on the trail of power, the Brotherhood has achieved perfect fluency in doublespeak," Mr Chouet wrote.

Tzvi Fleischer, an analyst with the Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Council, said: "While only parts of the Muslim Brotherhood are terrorists, the rest are cheerleaders or apologists for terrorism."

But federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the Muslim Brotherhood was not a listed terrorist organisation in Australia or in any of its allied countries. "It would be a flawed view to assume a person was a security risk simply because they had a link to an organisation of this name," he said. Mr Ruddock said anyone wanting to come to Australia was checked by intelligence agencies but the Government would be concerned if any new information came to light linking them to terrorist organisations.

Mr al-Hamwi was, by his own admission to the RRT, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood